Queenstown residents get a dose of UK royals’ charm

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine charmed residents of Queenstown Wednesday when the couple showed up at the Singapore housing estate.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made the Strathmore Green precinct in the residential district their third stop of their second day in the city-state.

Crowds of energetic cheering fans could barely hide their excitement when the glamorous royal couple emerged from their car, all dressed up despite the humidity and scorching sun.

Kate opted for a pretty printed silk two-piece by Singapore label Raoul for the occasion.

A Chinese lion dance troupe, a Malay kompang group and Indian drummers greeted the royals as they strolled into the relatively new five-block heartland estate on Strathmore Avenue.

The Duke and the Duchess, accompanied by HDB chairman James Koh, Member of Parliament (MP) Indranee Rajah and PA chief executive director Yam Ah Mee, among others, were then given a quick tour of the area where the royals met with some residents.

Community groups performing taichi and silat also impressed the royals as they walked around the fitness corner.

Prince William was especially fond of, if not curious about silat, Indranee told reporters after the royal couple had left Strathmore Green.

“Prince William expressed interest in the silat, wanting to know whether this was done as part of the community activities. They were quite interested to see that a lot of it was fitness related,” she said.

The MP for Tanjong Pagar group representation constituency added that the “very tall and very charming couple” also took time to chat with some residents, from the young to the elderly.

Exclaimed an excited fan, Sharon Lim, “We came all the way here since 1pm, we were in the hot sun for almost two hours, we almost got baked, but it’s all worth it.”

“We’re very, very happy now that we managed to get a few photos of the prince and princess,” the 40-year-old homemaker added. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them.”

Later in the day, the royal pair visited the Queenstown Rainbow Centre, a school and community centre for children with special needs.

The Duke spent time with children taking part in a physical education class while the Duchess joined in an art therapy session.

Queenstown, one of Singapore’s first housing estates, was picked as the choice location for the royals'
visit as it was named after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation in 1953.

Cheering fans at Gardens by the Bay

Prince William and Catherine earlier kick-started their Wednesday with a tour of the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, where some of their fans had waited from as early as 6am.

And boy, were the royal-watchers charmed when the beautiful pair arrived at about 10:30am.

“They were right in front of us, we both shook their hands,” gushed 25-year-old public servant Carmen Wong, who came with her boyfriend, Mak Yiing Chau, 24.

The young couple told Yahoo! Singapore that they were in London during the royals’ wedding last year but didn’t make it in time to see them then.

“We were quite disappointed so we thought we must come this time round. I still can’t believe that they’re here, in Singapore,” she said.

And some lucky ones even got to exchange a few words with the royals.

“We stood in the sweltering Singapore sun and they came right up to us,” shared Sarah Axson, a mother of two, whose four-year-old daughter personally handed Kate a card.

“Hannah made a card for the Queen and the Princess took it. She read it and she said she was going to pass it on to the Queen for her,” Axson, who’s in her 30s, told Yahoo!.

“She was absolutely delightful; she couldn’t have been nicer.”

The young royals, who were married in April last year, are on a nine-day tour of the Asia Pacific as part of celebrations marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, her 60th year on the throne.

Singapore is their first port of call.

They will stay here until Thursday, before making their way to Malaysia, then the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

The couple's last public event for this trip in Singapore will be held at the Kranji War Memorial on Thursday at 9:30 am, when the Duke and Duchess will pay their respects to fallen World War II soldiers.